TV tonight: NFC playoff, the ‘The Following’ plus ‘True Detective’

True Detective/HBO
True Detective/HBO

WASHINGTON, January 19, 2014–Just like every Sunday night during the season, tonight’s TV viewing is all about football. And tonight’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks should be one of the best.

So far this year the two teams are dead even with each team winning at home, a fact that should help the home team Seattle, but not guarantee a win. Last year’s AFC and NFC playoffs drew over 40 million viewers, a statistic that should hold true this year as well.

The game starts at 6:30 p.m. on FOX and should be a great lead in for a special preview episode of “The Following.” Although the show’s second season doesn’t officially start until Monday, Jan. 27, FOX will recap the first season of “The Following” with tonight’s installment, titled “Resurrection.” It will air immediately following the NFC playoff.

Basically this means that FOX net-heads figured out a way to capitalize on the huge leftover football audience just by spending a few hours in the editing room. The first season of “The Following” received mixed reviews with most of the criticism focused on the gratuitous violence.

Think “Scream” meets Jim Jones or Charles Manson and you get the picture. Regardless of the critics, the first season of “The Following” was definitely a success. The show averaged an overall viewership of over 11 million, a fact in large part due to Kevin Bacon’s role as the flawed but good-hearted cop, Ryan Hardy.

“The Following” is basically about the hunt for a serial killer, a theme it has in common with the latest drama from HBO; “True Detective.” Mathew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are both excellent in this show, but the real stars may be the rich Louisiana landscape and the colorful dialogue that goes along with this part of the country.

“True Detective” airs at 9 p.m. on HBO.

For basic cable “reality show” addicts, tonight’s schedule offers a veritable feast of contrived drama and cliff-hanger commercial breaks.

Along with the usual “Duck Dynasty” marathon, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Alaska: The Last Frontier,” “Ultimate Survival Alaska,” “Ax Men,” “Sister Wives,” “The Curse of Oak Island” and “Dude, You’re Screwed” are all offering new episodes of the same old thing.

With such an extensive list of reality shows for just one night, it is obvious the trend has gone far enough. But low production costs means only a couple million people have to tune in to make these shows profitable.

The newest reality show on E! “#RichKids of Beverly Hills,” is a perfect example of how reality TV producers inflate tedious stereotypes in an attempt to cheaply entertain us.

Just what we all needed, a bunch of spoiled rich kids whining about driving last year’s model of a BMW while flashing their parents’ gold card on Rodeo Drive.

Do us all a favor and take a pass on this one. The Kardashians are more than enough to remind us that money changes everything.

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I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter. I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present. In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.